Cohen Recycling property could be target for redevelopment in Hamilton

The large Cohen Recycling property directly across the Black Street Bridge from the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill indoor sports complex may be available for redevelopment.

The sprawling property, located at 105 Black St., occupying the block southwest of the intersection of Black and 3rd streets, would be attractive for development, city officials say. That’s because the Spooky Nook complex, which also will include a convention center, is expected to attract 10,000 or more athletes and their families to tournaments on some weekends.

Those people will be looking for nearby places they can go to eat, for entertainment, or to stay overnight.

The possible availability of the recycling complex for a mixed-use development or other purposes came to light when Hamilton officials announced plans to include it in an expanded Downtown Outdoor Refreshment Area, in which people are allowed to stroll around with alcoholic beverages purchased from participating bars and restaurants.

“It’s way too early to talk about that,” said Neil Cohen, chief sustainability officer for the 96-year-old Middletown-based business that employs more than 550 people at more than 20 sites. “But we recognize the value that Spooky Nook brings to town, and we want to take advantage of whatever we can add to the community.”

“But we don’t have any plans for moving anywhere else, or another piece of property in mind for ourselves. We’re really in infancy when it comes to that.”

But, he said, “The DORA thing is definitely a plus for that property.”

“There’s definitely been talk about Cohen looking to redevelop the site itself,” said Mallory Greenham, a small-business development specialist for the city.

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“Once we were looking at the DORA legislation, and we were adding East High Street (to Ohio 4) and B Street (a few blocks south of Main Street), we thought maybe we would do something similar that we did to Spooky Nook, which was set the area up for expansion of the DORA — kind of hold it as a place-holder — until we figured out what Cohen was going to do with the site,” Greenham said. “But it’s suspended up until that development happens.”

“It will not expand to that area until Cohen develops the site,” she said.

Greenham said she believed the idea was to create “a true mixed-use project … if it happens. Nothing is set in stone at this point.”

There’s another advantage of adding the Cohen property to the DORA, once Spooky Nook is developed, and if the Cohen property is too, Greenham said: “You will basically be able to walk from Main Street to Spooky Nook, across the Black Street Bridge, Cohen’s site, and through kind-of the back side of German Village.”

“So the DORA would essentially make a giant loop,” she said.

Matt Pater, the owner of Arches Saloon, told the Journal-News this week the DORA expansion, which City Council may approve June 24, also can help him redevelop a crime-saturated area of south B Street into a safer area where people feel safer walking the area.

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